Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 115, Issue 1, pp 123–131 | Cite as

Severe subcortical TDP-43 pathology in sporadic frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron disease

  • Nicholas J. Brandmeir
  • Felix Geser
  • Linda K. Kwong
  • Earl Zimmerman
  • Jiang Qian
  • Virginia M.-Y. Lee
  • John Q. Trojanowski
Original Paper


Recently, TDP-43, a 43 kDa nuclear TAR DNA-binding protein, was identified as the major disease protein in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions (FTLD-U), FTLD-U with motor neuron disease (FTLD–MND), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. To date, TDP-43 pathology in sporadic FTLD–MND has been reported only in select central nervous system areas. However, this distribution of lesions is insufficient to explain all clinical signs of FTLD–MND and the extent of TDP-43 pathology, throughout the brain, remains unknown. Therefore, as a pilot study, we performed an immunohistochemical whole brain scan of two cases diagnosed clinically as FTLD–MND and two control subjects. We found evidence of both neuronal and glial TDP-43 pathology in multiple brain areas including the nigro-striatal system, neo- and allocortical brain areas, with varying frequency, morphology, and degree, and nowhere in control tissue. The finding of a distinct cytopathological profile consisting of a cell nucleus devoid of endogenous TDP-43 staining coupled with diffuse/granular cytoplasmic staining (“pre-inclusion”) was prominent in a couple of brain areas. These pre-inclusions were not or only weakly ubiquitin-immunoreactive. While the findings of severe involvement of extracortical or extrapyramidal areas are strongly suggestive for FTLD–MND being a TDP-43 multisystem proteinopathy rather than a disease predominantly affecting the cortex and spinal cord, more detailed clinicopathological studies of larger cohorts are needed to fully elucidate the distribution and severity of pathological TDP-43 in this disease.


TDP-43 Frontotemporal dementia Frontotemporal lobar degeneration Motor neuron disease 



The authors would like to thank T. Schuck, J. Robinson, and M. Getahun for their expert technical assistance and M. Martinez-Lage for critical comments on the discussion. Further, they thank their patients and families who made this research possible. This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health (AG10124, AG17586, and HL071483).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas J. Brandmeir
    • 1
    • 2
  • Felix Geser
    • 1
  • Linda K. Kwong
    • 1
  • Earl Zimmerman
    • 2
  • Jiang Qian
    • 3
  • Virginia M.-Y. Lee
    • 1
  • John Q. Trojanowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center, Institute on AgingUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Alzheimer’s Disease CenterAlbany Medical CenterAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineAlbany Medical CollegeAlbanyUSA

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